Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Coney Island Winter

This winter has been unbearable in NYC. While I’m happy to be able to work from home on blizzard days, cabin fever has never been more severe. Whenever work gets too stressful and the winter blues get just a bit too much, it’s time to take a trip to the beach. While I love Jones Beach and the Jersey Shore as much as the next person, I’ve always been curious about Coney Island. True, the “real” Coney Island before all the things got torn down to make room for condos will never be the same. Today’s Coney Island is rather worn down, which is probably why the Jersey Shore TV show takes place in Seaside Heights, NJ.

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Many people who have been to Coney Island during the summer told me that it was a long trip with not much to see besides crazy crowds. I finally figured out it was futile to drag people with me (I’ve been trying since 2007 without any real results), so might as well just suck it up and go myself…in the middle of winter, after snow can melt away.

For my Coney Island trip, I decided to take the morning commute rush trains on a Friday since I didn’t want to deal with subway services changes. If you go, I suggest taking the D, it zips through Manhattan very quickly. Also grab a cup of coffee before getting on the train because the ride through Brooklyn part takes quite a while (I stopped counting after ten stops).

If you have no sense of direction, don’t worry, Coney Island beach and fair grounds are easily spotted from the subway station. I literately just followed the nearest road to Wonder Wheel and figured out my way to the boardwalk and beach. While the carnival is clearly closed during the winter and the town is quiet, I really enjoyed the contrast between the snow, boardwalk, and beach. There is also a pier going into the ocean that offers scenic views.

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The NY Aquarium is an indoor attraction good for a break from the cold winds. Just walk northeast on the boardwalk and you’ll find a nice mural depicting marine life. Follow a small entrance with the aquarium sign and check out the exhibits! Usually aquariums and zoos are crowded out by school trips and strollers, but on the day I went, I was lucky enough to have most of the exhibits to myself. It’s rather relaxing watching sharks and stingrays and seals swim through the water.

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Before my readers lose interest in this entry, yes, Nathan’s is open during the winter and of course I had to pay a visit. The store is hard to miss with its giant billboards and elaborate décor. Inside the store is nothing fancy though. You get a few tables and chairs. I think the summer menu has more extensive seafood options whereas the winter menu is more standard hotdog and fries fare. I decided to stick with the original hotdog and an order of chili-cheese fries. I could have ordered some beer too but in the middle of winter, beer just didn’t seem to fit right. I know most of you from the tri-state area have already had Nathan’s hotdog from one of their many chain stores. The original one still has the best hotdog, hands down.

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1 comment:

Stargazer said...

Your pictures look great! Coney Island during the summer is really a crowded hot place to be, but I've wondered how it is during the winter. I need to try Nathan's still but the last time I went, that smell of frying oil was too much. Hope you had fun!